Are Senior Citizens DRIVING ambulances now?

Posted On: Thursday - September 8th 2022 6:56PM MST
In Topics: 
  Curmudgeonry  Peak Stupidity Roadshow

No, first of all, the Peak Stupidity CurmudgeonryFest we started last week is most certainly NOT over yet, since you asked. In addition, we are not even done complaining about slow-assed ambulance drivers! If this is getting old for you, I understand, but my therapist is always telling me "blog it out, bitch!" So here you go, and if you do want to read more, you may go back to Three Stupidity Anecdotes again (the 1st one), or further back, to 1st Slow Pokes Responders.

It was different this time. I saw the ambulance in the rear view mirrors, so what do they tell you? Get to the right! (That should be a mantra for driving in general, unless you drive in strange foreign lands.) So I did. This was a fairly fast-moving 4-lane road, but at the intersection I was approaching there was a separate right-turn lane. I got in it and stopped.

Well, that cleared the regular right (out of 2) lane, and with nobody coming for 1/2 mile back, I'd cleared a way for this ambulance. They were having none of that. Maybe it's their rule, but they came around traffic into the other lane to pass everyone on the left, and then did (as I've described before) their 10-second scan of the intersection that a driver on ludes* would do in 5.

OK, look I had to get home at some point, and if I stayed too long stopped in this right turn lane, the light would turn red AND I'd be stuck in this lane with people pissed at me for wanting to cut them off. Back onto the road I went, through the intersection, and ahead at normal speed, 5 to 10 mph over the 40 mph limit. (It is a pretty safe stretch there.)

Where was the ambulance now? Way back there, as I was PULLING AWAY for cryin' out loud! "Who are these guys!?** I was a quarter mile ahead of them for a time, and then they caught up at a light 2 miles later, at which I'd pulled hard over into a place of business to get out of their way a second time. I thought about flagging them down and asking if they needed me to bring the patient in - they could meet us 10 minutes later in the ER with his medications. I'm not sure if their patient would have fit under the hatchback though ...

I get (from a comment or two) that these ambulances have to be steady for work to be done, etc. They are mobile field hospitals to some degree. Then they should just leave the sirens and lights off, if they won't drive like they mean it.

"Hey, sonny, you people hiring?"

Rather than your 1970s Emergency!*** TV show "heroes" picking up old people with heart attacks and rushing them to the hospital, I wonder now if Granny is DRIVING the ambulance these days.

Hopefully, this will be the end of the ranting about this, but since, it's a post about traffic, I will mention a weird thing, yellow turn arrows on traffic signal devices. They seem to confuse some people, and I could see why. This one flashes a yellow left arrow for 30 seconds after something closer to 15-20 seconds of it being a green left arrow. Twice now, drivers had just sat there, not turning and letting the signal turn into a standard red light (or maybe red arrow).

It's a tough call, if you haven't see that specific intersection before or you're a typical smart-phone-fixated driver. Is it like a standard yellow light, meaning the red will be here in a few seconds, so stop if you still can? You could be forgiven for thinking so, but this one is not. It's just telling us to yield for straight-ahead traffic from the other side of the intersection. I could see that the traffic on both sides of the 4-lane crossing road was stopped, so I figured it out. That didn't help, since the first driver didn't bother to figure it out.

I'm kinda wistful sometimes about the middle of the PanicFest, when everyone else just stayed off the roads completely!

* Although, as Jeff Spicolli noted, people on ludes shouldn't drive.

** Said to myself with quite the opposite meaning as when Butch Cassidy asked the question to the Sundance Kid (possibly vice versa).

*** The first season aired 50 years ago.

Saturday - September 10th 2022 12:19PM MST

First day is Amherst to Valparaiso, IN, second is Valpo to St. Paul. I have to decide whether I want to stop in Chicago for breakfast (Swedish potato sausage and a delicious cinnamon roll) Monday at Ann Sather at Belmont and Clark.

Good Sunday lineup on Radio Classics on XM, even though there’s no “ Your Truly, Johnny Dollar” nor “ Dragnet” scheduled for tomorrow. Baseball in the afternoon, though.
Saturday - September 10th 2022 10:41AM MST
PS: With the gas somewhat down in price and that likely fuel-efficient Ford, I imagine it'll be a lot cheaper to drive, Mr. Ganderson. It sounds like a bit long for a non-stop though. Where do you like to make an overnight stop, if you do?

I used to really enjoy long road-trips - made something like 20 different one-way cross- or nearly-cross-, countries, on various routes from/to various points, if I break it down. I guess it's not so fun anymore, though I put a whole lot of miles out West in a rent-a-car last summer, and it wasn't bad. The West is the best, though, for driving.

I "unfortunately" missed that rap song intro, Mr. Spaulding. Rats!, or something, haha. I've been on a couple of ambulance rides. On one, one of the guys in the back told me and the other slightly injured guy "don't move, lie still!" as we talked to each other, this after we'd just walked a ways over to the ambulance. That bill wasn't too bad, $200 I think, but it was long ago.

About the small "roundabouts". Yes, the Euro ones I saw were 2 and 3 lane jobbies, serious traffic circles. In some neighborhoods in Seattle, Washington, there are these tiny things that are really just a tree in a 8-10 ft diameter planter. I was going the way that made the most sense distance-wise. "Hey, you're going the wrong way", I'd heard from more than one driver. "Nah, it's just a tree in the middle of the road. I'm going around it."

Adam, man, that really smashed up the cab. The house looks fine. A friend of mine had the opposite happen, though not by an ambulance - as he was working 20 miles away at night, a car did a hit-and-run on his house - it smashed a hole in the bricks in a 4 ' x 3' elliptical shape. I imagine they were drunk and realized in the morning that they are some of the luckiest drunk drivers ever!
Adam Smith
Saturday - September 10th 2022 8:49AM MST
PS: Good morning,

JT Spaulding
Friday - September 9th 2022 5:15PM MST
PS Love that old rap song intro with the oldster saying excuse me sonny you know where I can find some booty?
An ambulance smashup on the motorway by the local muh hospital?!
I wouldn't doubt it and you should see the tiny roundabouts that would make Europastan comrades laugh.
Be of good cheer, Clown World is for you to get free gut busting therapy sessions.
All clowning aside, the EMT "mambulance" saved my bacon but I'm sure standards are down and enrichment is up since then.
Friday - September 9th 2022 1:37PM MST

Mr. Moderator, who DIDN'T have a crush on Nurse Dixie? Other than the monkeypox set, that is.

Promised Land is indeed a great song, especially this version from 3/20/77, Winterland. The rest of the show's really good, too, maybe the best concert I ever saw in person.

Truckin' and Willin' are both good road songs. and of course Commander Cody has a boatload of great drivin' songs!

I could fly to St. Paul- there are two non-stops a day from Hartford-MSP, but I like to drive my six speed Ford Fusion. Besides Mrs Ganderson and I are going out again in early October to the lake- we'll fly then.

I've been to most of our reunions- I don't think I'm one of those pathetic losers who hold onto lost HS glory. (There well may be other reasons I'm a pathetic loser...) I liked the guys (All boys Catholic Military School) I went to school with; I enjoy seeing them again.

Mr. Alarmist, the theme from the Odd Couple is one of my faves- I'll have to look up the other song you mentioned. Bobby Troup was also in the movie version of M*A*S*H- he was the driver that continually said "Goddamn Army.."
The Alarmist
Friday - September 9th 2022 11:04AM MST

I hate roundabouts ... they are supposedly traffic-calming measures, but they do anything but calm traffic.

Julie London was perhaps the original sexy nurse. She also sang a song named Girl Talk, composed by Neal Hefti with lyrics by London’s hubby, Troup. The song has been described as the “last great male chauvinistic song written in the '60s.” It has become a jazz standard covered by numerous artists, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, and this more recent version by the very cute Devyn Rush, who sang it with Hefti’s son and his ensemble.

The elder Hefti is known for many hits, and perhaps infamous for the themes from Batman and The Odd Couple.

Adam Smith
Friday - September 9th 2022 11:01AM MST
PS: Happy Friday to you too, Mr. Ganderson!
I hope you enjoy your trip. Kinda off topic, but you said...

"I expect to see are lots of giant Airstream motor homes towing cars, driven by 80 year olds. I’m sure that’s safe."

I see lots of RV's towing cars and small SUVs that shouldn't be flat towed for any sort of distance. I wonder how many end up with transmission damage?

Friday - September 9th 2022 6:46AM MST
PS: I like "Route 66", though the Stones version is the one I'm familiar with. To me a great "road" song is Chuck Berry's / The Dead's "Promised Land", but granted it's not about driving. I guess Chuck Berry's song narrator could not afford his own wheels. Then there's "Radar Love" by Golden Earring. The late Jerry Reed's "Eastbound and Down" or "Westbound and Down" are pretty good.

Some others will come to me later on, I'm sure.
Friday - September 9th 2022 6:42AM MST
PS: I had a crush on Nurse Dixie.

I have experienced the Los Angeles area, Mr. Ganderson, but a decade and more after Jim Rockford's time and that of the guys on "Emergency", "Adam-12", and all the rest of the First Responders* TV shows that were so popular in the 1970s. I wish I could have lived there in the 1950's through mid-70's. My late friend said that would have been the time he'd have picked to live any time and any place in this world.

What will you be traveling to the reunion in? It's not the 5th or 10th, so you don't have to go renting a BMW and putting on a hopefully-easily-removable Goldman-Sachs parking sticker to impress or get back at, the ladies haha. I have been to no reunions - just not my thing.

Why not fly from Mass into MSP and rent a car? BTW, I saw a Worcester-DTW flight one time - it seems like they were trying to build up that airport as another reliever for Boston-Logan. That was before the Kung Flu though.

* Of course, they wouldn't have used that annoying (to me) term back then.
Friday - September 9th 2022 5:54AM MST

And while I’m at it: I’m heading back out to St. Paul on Sunday for my 50th high school reunion- among the things I expect to see are lots of giant Airstream motor homes towing cars, driven by 80 year olds. I’m sure that’s safe. Notice I’m completely skirting the question as to whether 68 year old me should be driving that far…
Friday - September 9th 2022 5:48AM MST
PS. Happy Friday everybody!

Gage and DeSoto, not to mention Chet, would not approve of granny or grandpa driving the ambulance!

Fun Facts about Emergency! : Former torch song singer Julie London, who played Nurse Dixie, was married to Bobby Troup, who played Dr. Joe Early. London’s ex- husband was… Jack Webb!
Troup also wrote the classic road song “Route 66”, which in my view is tied with “Six Days on the Road” as the all time best traveling tune. I like the Asleep at the Wheel version of the former, and the Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels’ live version of the latter. And, Tim Donnelly, who played Chet, was a semi regular on “Dragnet”; he was the dad in the episode where the stoned parents let their baby drown in the bathtub.

Much of my “knowledge” of SoCal comes from watching Jack Webb shows- (and Rockford, as well as Mothers of Invention records) my favorite episode of Emergency! Was when Kareem Abdul Jabbar got stuck in a VW bug!
Friday - September 9th 2022 2:17AM MST
PS: Adam, I know it's not often that people have to pul out a book about this stuff - only at 15 to 18 y/o and then, usually never again. Though I am not enamored by the way some of the written tests are made for driver's licensing they have probably updated them for these yellow arrows.

The thing is, after 10 s of the yellow arrow, common sense tells you this is not the prelude to red that you first thought.

Yeah, roundabouts, aka traffic circles, are getting big. That's especially the case in the Raleigh/Triangle, N. Carolina area. They LUV LUV LUV them over there.
Adam Smith
Thursday - September 8th 2022 8:17PM MST
PS: Good evening, Mr. Moderator,

A couple years back they replaced the normal traffic lights with the blinking yellow turn arrows. (According to the interweb they have been around in some places since 2009.)I thought they were weird the first few times I saw them. The old ones were fine. Now I'm used to them I guess.

They've been changing quite a few intersections into roundabouts too. I think the county commissioners get a cut. They are subsidized by the state.

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